Driving across Missouri on Route 66 leads to some unforgettable stops, ranging from the underground beauty of Meramec Caverns in Stanton to the vintage charm of Gary’s Gay Parita in Ash Grove.
Adding to the allure of Route 66 in Missouri are abundant restaurants catering to virtually every taste. You’ll find greasy spoons, sweet shops, food challenges, pizza and more.
Here are 11 places to get your grub on the next time you’re cruising Route 66 in the Show-Me State (note, slight detours off the route may be required):
- Instant Karma Gourmet Hot Dogs, Joplin – The varied menu has options aplenty, including vegan choices, not to mention creations like the Cubano (a bacon-wrapped hot dog with pickles, mustard, Swiss cheese and pulled pork).
- Whisler’s Drive-Up, Carthage – In business since 1953, this joint knows a thing or two about making awesome burgers. Oh, and five double cheeseburgers for $14? Yes, please!
- Steak N Shake, Springfield – Okay, so, putting a chain restaurant on the list violates the laws of “cool,” but this neon-lit spot (1158 E. St. Louis St.) is an institution on Route 66, dating to 1962. It’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places, for Pete’s sake.
- Yogi’s Pizza, Conway – Excellent sauce, fresh dough and savory ingredients help make Yogi’s one of the top pizza stops in Missouri. It won the Rural Missouri magazine editor’s choice award for “Best Pizza in Missouri” for 2017.
- Hopper’s Pub, Waynesville – This charming pub/restaurant sits right on Route 66 in the downtown area, a few steps from other Route 66 attractions. A diverse menu and dozens of beers on tap makes this must-taste experience.
- Elbow Inn Bar and BBQ, Devils Elbow – A popular hangout for generations, the bar serves up tasty barbecue and cold drinks. Note the Elbow Inn is remodeling and open weekends only as of this writing (September 2017) due to flood damage sustained in the spring.
- Cookin’ From Scratch, Newburg – Okay, big eaters, here’s your chance. Check out the Route 66 King of the Road Challenge: eat a 66-ounce burger (with bun) covered with nine slices of American cheese, paired with more than a pound of French fries, and topped with pickle slices, lettuce, tomato and onion in 66 minutes or less for a T-shirt, free meal, picture on the Wall of Fame and a plaque.
- Slice of Pie, Rolla – There’s no denying the big appeal of the pies at this small bakery in Rolla. They’ve got pies galore, from traditional apple and peach to sweet potato and custard. As the holidays approach, it’s totally cheating if you pass off one of their pies as your own when preparing meals for family and friends.
- Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q, Cuba – This Missouri original has earned a reputation as one of the best barbecue joints in the Show-Me State and along the entirety of Route 66. All the classic options are there, from ribs to smoked chicken to pulled pork. Try a classic taste of Missouri with the pork steak sandwich.
- Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, St. Louis – Let’s be honest, it doesn’t get much better than a sweet frozen-custard treat (think one with salted caramel and crumbled up pretzels) on a warm Missouri day. Or a cold Missouri day. Or a hot Missouri day. Or a mild Missouri day. You get the gist, right?
- Eat-Rite Diner, St. Louis – Known for “slingers” (that’s chili slathered over sausage, eggs and potatoes) this classic diner has limited seating and a big following. It’s unabashedly a greasy spoon … and it totally works.
Again these are just a few of the dining options you find on Route 66 in Missouri. Find more restaurants and sights to see on your Missouri road trip and remember to share pictures with us on Instagram and Twitter using #MissouriAdventure.